Mayor Nutter pledged his support to the Philly artistic community during a meeting in City Hall last night, but said cuts to arts funding may not be over.

"I can't stand here today and tell you we won't have to take further action in the current fiscal year," Nutter said to the standing-room-only crowd gathered in the mayor's reception room for a town-hall meeting on how the budget crisis will affect the arts.

Nutter added: "I have no idea what's going to go on in the stock market."

Cultural organizations have taken a hit under Nutter's cuts to eliminate a $1 billion hole in the city budget over the next five years.

The budget for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund was reduced from $4.2 million to $3.2 million this budget year - which remains an increase over the previous year. And city funding for the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Atwater Kent Museum and the African-American Museum was reduced, as were contributions to the Greater Philadelphia Film Office and Avenue of the Arts Inc.

Nutter appeared last night with recently hired Chief Cultural Officer Gary Steuer, Finance Director Rob Dubow and Joe Kluger, head of the new Cultural Advisory Council.

"We're all in this together," Nutter said. "We will not turn away from the overall commitment I have made to art and culture and creative expression."

Many attendees who run arts organizations said they have lost foundation and corporate funding this year. Nutter said he understood their situations.

"If any group understands economic tough times, it's folks in the arts and culture world and the nonprofit sector," he said.

But Nutter said he remains optimistic that Philadelphia will continue to be a destination point for artists and art-lovers. To assist him in that goal, Nutter also yesterday announced a 40-member Cultural Advisory Council, who will provide guidance to the mayor on arts issues. Kluger, of the arts consulting firm WolfBrown, will lead the group.

Other members include Peggy Amsterdam, president of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance, and Happy Fernandez, president of Moore College of Art and Design. *